Mature Champagne from a traditional Bristol merchant
Bristol, England is a major port that has a rich, long history of importing wine. It is no surprise then that wine merchants founded centuries ago still exist today. My familiarity with the wine merchant Avery’s of Bristol dates back to the eve of their 200th anniversary in 1993. For centuries past, wine was imported in barrel then bottled by British merchant such as Avery’s. This practice continued until the mid to late 20th century. Though British bottling died out due to the rise of domaine bottling, the tradition of these merchants selling wine under their own label still exists today. The NV Avery’s, Special Cuvee, Champagne Brut is one such example. For over 50 years the Boizel Champagne house has produced a special Pinot Noir based cuvee for Avery’s.
The Boizel Champagne house was founded in 1834 but it was with the great 1961 vintage that Rene Boizel created the first cuvée spéciale for France. It is from this period that the Avery’s cuvee was created. This cuvee is available online at the Avery’s website but the bottle which Mannie Berk recently shared with me is no current release. Instead it dates to the 1980s and speaks to another great British tradition, that of aging Champagne. The three decades of age have given the wine a golden color, taken the firm edges off the bubbles, and developed a lovely mature flavor. With air this Avery’s Champagne shows its strength yet never loses the balance between effervescence, mature flavors, and integrated acidity. I think it is drinking great right now, just be sure to follow it over a couple hours as it breaths. I just checked and it appears on The Rare Wine Co website. If you cannot wait three decades for the current release to mature then snag a few bottles while you can.
NV Avery’s, Special Cuvee, Champagne Brut
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. Alcohol 12%. An attractive golden toast color greets the eye. In the mouth this mature Champagne is almost inky with a good amount of bubbles at the start. Flavors of dark, yellow fruit mixes with baking spices that come out with the prickles on the tongue. The mature fruit is eventually replaced by a chalky, finely textured finish. With air the wine builds attractive spice and toast notes. **** Now but will last.